The Daily Memo | August 9, 2023 | The Joy Set Before You by Guest Author Michael Kurtz

As reported in the news recently, four Nigerian men were discovered and rescued in Brazil after crossing the Atlantic from Africa as stowaways on a cargo ship.  The four exhausted men spent fourteen harrowing days perched inside the shallow opening above the ship’s rudder, under the stern.  They ran out of food and water ten days into the journey and had barely slept nor made a sound for fear of falling into the water or being discovered by the ship’s crew. 

What motivated these men to risk life and limb to leave their homes, family, and country and attempt the unthinkable? 

Freedom!

Two of the survivors were interviewed after being rescued.  The joy and relief on their faces was clear.  These articulate, thoughtful men left a land of chaos where they lacked liberty, in search of freedom in another land.  They were calling on the mercy of Brazilian authorities to grant them asylum and hoped that their families may one day join them. 

Scripture tells us that Jesus endured the pain and shame of the cross for the joy that was set before him.  He stepped bravely and confidently into his journey of torture and death, fueled by the hope of what awaited him on the other side.  The vision of a ransomed people, humanity freed from the rule of darkness, and a beautiful bride-to-be preparing for his eventual return. 

Likewise, there is freedom for all of God’s children on the other side of His healing process.  A life of peace and joy – the world of dysfunction, self-destruction and pain left far behind.  What is keeping you from taking the risk and starting the journey?  Restoration awaits you on the other side. 

Unlike these stowaways who risked their lives to find their freedom, our safe passage was bought and paid for by the captain himself.  Jesus shed his blood as a ransom for all.  Won’t you lay hold of that victory that he paid such a high price to win?  There is so much offered to us as believers, and He who fulfills his promises is faithful and true – you can rest in the blessed assurance of what waits for those who partake. 

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.  So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”  – Isaiah 61:1-3

And that’s the memo.

By Michael Kurtz

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